If you only want one baby carrier, buy a mei tai. Yes, woven wraps will always have my heart, because I’m a fabric geek, and I love textiles, and I had a blanky as a little kid and I think those things are somehow related. But mei tais are quicker. They’re less intimidating. They share easily between different-sized caregivers, and can still provide the tight carries and easy nursing you can get from a wrap.
But still. I love wovens. I’ve used mei tais; I like mei tais; but I’m a woven wrapper at heart. So this beautiful blue ginkgo Didytai Birdie’s Room sent me sat for a while. In fact, my babywearing BFF tried it first. She sent me pics of her husband using it. “THIS IS SO AWESOME!!!!!” she said (I’m paraphrasing here. She’s not into the all-caps thing). Uh-huh, I said. You just love blue gingkos, lady.
I waited a while longer, and then figured I might as well get it over with. So when Sunny needed to go up, I broke out the Didytai. Tied the waist, pinned the top straps, put him in, tightened – dare I say it! – spread cross passes, and tied.
OMG. I was wearing a wrap. Except not.
This is not your mama’s old school mei tai. This is a wrapper’s mei tai. Okay, yes, it’s made by Didymos, so that should be obvious. But this gave me a tight, snuggled carry I expect from a woven. Unlike many mei tais, I didn’t have to bounce and fuss to get Sunny deep into the carrier. I think it’s the curved bottom: it gives babe a naturally deeper seat to settle into.
The bottom also adjust for smaller babies. Sunny, at 20 lbs and 10 months, needed a wee bit of cinching. It would adjust down easily for a newborn, or up for a big toddler (more on that later).
So hemp gingko went to Target. And, of course, Sunny needed to nurse, because he’s a boob monster. I got wrap snuggles – and when he needed to nurse, I just loosened the knot and lowered him. Mei tais are really one of the easiest carriers for a newbie to nurse in, and this Didytai wasn’t an exception. The wrap straps held Sunny more closely and securely (spread passes!) while he was down low as well.
But what really made me fall in love with this carrier: the angle of the top straps. I like to back carry; I don’t love ruck straps (though the DIdytai gave me enough length to tie tibetan). The way the top straps attach to the carrier means I can, instead, cross the straps on my chest, spread the passes, and still not choke myself. This move concentrates all the baby’s weight in the center of my chest. Giant kids feel lightweight.
And I know they do, because we tested, both with my 30 lb four-year-old and my BWing BFF’s 50-lb 5 year old.
We had to widen the carrier all the way, use the wrap straps to hold their legs in knee-to-knee crosspasses, and put the sleep hood up to help create a higher back. But it worked. Both kids felt lovely and said the carrier was comfortable (and no, they couldn’t fling themselves out backwards; they tried at our request). My son said, when prodded, that the straps dug in on his legs a bit; hemp gingkos is really thin. This really is a carrier that can work from a small newbie on up to a largish toddler (around 30 lbs comfortably). In a pinch, I’d use it for a larger kid, but I wouldn’t make it my primary preschool carrier.
Some mamas complained that there wasn’t a stiffer canvas inside to the body, which would give the carrier more shape. I loved it: it made the mei tai feel that much more like a wrap.
Basically: buy a Didytai. It wears like a wrap with the ease of a mei tai. [ <—- feel free to steal that quote, Didy. I don’t mind. ] I occasionally got some muffin top, but the wrap straps spread to hide it, and it was more uncomfortable than anything.
The only issue with buying a Didytai? Its feel will depend on the wrap used to make it. So while I adored the construction, some versions will be hotter than others, or thicker than others, etc. Liscas will be squisher; jacquards will glide better. This was super cool for the summer, but it’s a limited edition and rather hard to find. Damn you, Didy! Another ISO to track down!
And this thing will only get squisher and softer. The carrier I didn’t want to use is now the one I hate to give away – good news for you!